Discussing the Tipping Point

It was a beautiful evening, and time for our monthly book club excursion. It was also time to commemorate St. Patrick, and the celebrations were in full force in the tent outside the Irish pub at Hamilton Town Center. Once we finally found parking spots, I don’t think any of us minded the extra walk to Borders; the weather was especially nice.

Despite not joining in the nearby St. Patrick’s Day merrymaking, we still sported some festive green!

Armed with tea, coffee and our answers to the pre-meeting Mad Lib Sarah posted, we launched into our discussion of The Tipping Point. Certain parts of the book resonated with each of us more than others, but I think we all agreed that it was fascinating and could see points that Malcolm Gladwell brought up at work in the world around us. Here are a few highlights of what came up in our discussion:

  • We could identify some traits in us of connectors, mavens or salesmen, but none of us would strongly identify ourselves as one. However we all  could think of people who fit these roles. A couple of us, myself included, admitted that we failed the phonebook test miserably — we’re definitely not connectors! 
  • Each of us had experience with Sesame Street and Blues Clues and could see the stickiness factor of their messages at work. The way stickiness can be built in somewhat creeped a few of us out.
  • We were rather amazed at how powerful the power of context can really be. Cleaning up graffiti and prosecuting fare-beaters in the subway can start a reversal of crime in New York City. People will be prone to not help someone because they think someone else will. A harmful or lethal act will seem OK because the people doing it seem heroic and that can give someone else “permission.”
  • Several of us were so intrigued by this book that we have or are planning to read some of Gladwell’s other works.
At one point during our discussion, a group of St. Patrick’s Day revelers who were meeting at Borders before a concert in the tent asked us what book we were discussing. When they found out it was the The Tipping Point, they pointed to one of the guys in the group and said, “That is his FAVORITE book!” I think the fact that the conversation died out from there proved that none of us are strong “connectors,” I think a connecter would have been all over that, Not even a weak connection was to be had there! 🙂
If you couldn’t join us for our March meeting, I hope you can make it out for our April discussion of Three Cups of Tea. We’ll be meeting at Tea’s Me, so that alone will make it an outing you won’t want to miss. Hope to see you on Saturday, April 16!
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